Apple copied us, and that's a good thing. Here's why…

Wednesday, June 9, 2021
Nick Bolton
Nick Bolton
Founder CEO & Interim-CTO of Symless (Synergy team)

On June 7th, at WWDC21, Apple announced a new feature for macOS called Universal Control. This revolutionary new feature allows you to share a keyboard and mouse from one Apple device to another, for a seamless experience. 

Sound familiar?

That might have some people worried, but not us here at Synergy! We’re excited to see Apple enter our world, and here’s why...

#1 Competition benefits the customer

There is something really invigorating about competition. They keep you in check, and they stop you from stagnating. They light a fire under your belly. Being the only app in a space would not be a good thing; your solution is probably too niche. And, nobody can show you what mistakes you’re making.

Being a small tech startup, it’s great to have someone like Apple set the pace for product design, customer messaging, and much more… Synergy will learn a lot from Apple, and we’re looking forward to what lessons we will learn from the ultimate masters of design. These lessons will be used to improve Synergy and benefit the customer.

#2 Apple brings more awareness

Now that Apple is in our space, more customers will be aware of solutions for multiple devices.

A bigger pie means that there will be more slices for everyone. We saw this when Microsoft entered the space with their competing app, and when Logitech launched their Synergy clone too. More customers were brought to Synergy, and this helped to fuel further development of our product.

If Apple is amazing at one thing, it’s making ideas cool. As soon as Apple shows the world how amazing something is, millions of people jump on board. Now, using two or more computers at the same time will be cool. Most people will finally get why on earth someone would want to use multiple computers at the same time.

#3 Universal Control is Apple-only

Apple’s clone of Synergy only works within Apple’s walled-garden (on macOS and iOS) and that’s how Apple works best. Why won’t they venture outside of that walled garden? Because by staying on Apple hardware, they control everything and give the user the best possible experience (and do an amazing job).

Synergy lets you mix and match operating systems, which is exactly why most of our customers use our app. Because our app is cross-platform, and has been forever, that’s 9 combinations (if you have two computers). Apple has 1 of 9 combinations covered. Of course, they have the benefit of iOS support, but we were never in that space anyway (not yet, at least). That said, perhaps someday you’ll be able to control your iPad from your Windows computer with Synergy.

#4 Apple is our customer, and we love them

Apple develops software for Windows. iTunes, for example. To develop this software internally, Apple has to use Windows computers. Of course, Apple uses Synergy internally, for their cross-platform development. This is where Synergy shines, by combining the worlds of Windows and macOS together into a seamless experience.

So, they make Windows software... Does that worry us? No, because Apple only develops Windows apps if there is a huge benefit to them, and they wouldn’t be able to achieve the same level of seamlessness with a Windows version of Universal Control (because they don’t have complete control over the hardware).

#5 Apple is educating people

When we explain Synergy to the non-technical customer, often we are met with blank expressions.

“Is that like a KVM switch?” “Well, sort of…”

“Oh, isn’t that virtualization?” “Well, not really.”

Apple is doing the educational heavy-lifting for us. What do I mean by this? Well, albeit a simple tool, trying to get people to understand Synergy’s use case (what problem it solves and why it’s important) is hard, really hard. We’re often met with “Why would I want to use two computers at the same time?”

Our new competitor is helping our potential customers understand the benefits of using different devices for different tasks, then combining these devices together to create a productivity multiplier.

Apple’s gift to us is that from now on we’ll be hearing: “Oh, like that thing that macOS does?” “Yes, but it allows you to mix computers running Windows, macOS, and Linux (not just macOS).”

June 9, 2021
Nick Bolton
 (revised on 

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